One of the questions I get asked the most when talking to people about this blog is “What made you start the blog?”. To be honest, it was a culmination of a few things that began in November 2007. November was when our Morkie, Paddington, started favouring one of her legs. Immediately I knew something was up. I have written about her luxating patella surgery, and the ordeal we went through with that. Not only money wise, but recovery period. Paddington has problems in BOTH of her knees and after discovering this and speaking with many many people about it, I realized what I had suspected all along: Paddington came from a puppy mill.
Now when we got Paddington, I had no clue what a puppy mill was or that places like that even existed. I cringe at the fact that I unwittingly supported this horrendous industry. Having said that, I wouldn’t trade Paddington for the world – I love her to pieces and will fix any problem she gets because there is no other option for me. Her well being is of the utmost importance.
A puppy mill (or sometimes referred to as a puppy farm) is defined as a breeding operation where dogs are kept in substandard living conditions and are repeatedly bred for financial gain, often bred too young and far too often. Puppy mills often consist of the dogs being kept in small cages their entire lives and never let to experience what being a dog actually is all about. It is a form of cruelty and 100% neglect. Puppies are often separated from their mothers too soon and are rarely properly socialized.
Coming back to the question I am asked so often of why I started this blog; I wanted to do something to make sure that others did not make the same mistake we did. I want to give our community a place to find reputable breeders who treat their dogs with love and respect, as well as to educate people about local animal shelters and about rescuing rather than buying a puppy. I had no idea, and I feel it is my responsibility to make sure that I do something.
The reasons for not supporting puppy mills surmount to more than just the conditions that the parents and puppies are kept in – they will creep into your life in the form of vet bills and sometimes, behavioural problems. Since Paddington was not properly socialized, she was and still is, very afraid of certain things. Corduroy has never been like that. This could lend to the personality of the dog, but I honestly believe it goes beyond that with Paddington.
The vet bills are another story. Because puppy mills are using dogs to just make money, they often buy dogs cheap and breed without checking for genetic defects that can be passed down to the puppies. This leads to problems like luxating patellas and hip dysplasia, both EXTREMELY expensive to have fixed. The dogs could also come away with infections and diseases such as parvo or giardia – both of which can kill puppies.
The reach of puppy mills extend beyond their cages. Pet stores usually get their puppies through a dog broker who buys from puppy mills. The idea of a puppy broker makes me sick to my stomach. Perpetuating these mills even further by treating the dogs as things and not living, breathing, sentient beings.
As for the dogs left in these horrible puppy mills, shelters do all they can to rescue these dogs. This is the second reason why I started the Ottawa Dog Blog. I know that I would never be able to work at a rescue organization because I am not strong enough to see what they see. I couldn’t deal with it. So this is my way of helping. The Adoption Shelters Page has now outranked the main page of this site for popularity and number of people visiting and that, to me, is the most wonderful news.
I refuse to post any pictures because they are just too disturbing to me.
For more information about puppy mills, please visit No Puppy Mills Canada.